Whether it was latently bubbling in my psyche before I moved here or acquired after years of living cheek by jowl with other New Yorkers, my germaphobia has developed into an irrepressible part of my existence in this city. I’ve become a Purell-toting citizen, avoiding subway poles and sick coworkers with a fervor I previously associated with uptight neurotics. This paranoia has even infected my preferred activity: eating. The moment I arrive at a restaurant, before I begin catching up with a friend or perusing the wine list, I find myself beelining to the bathroom, eager to get city grime off my hands. Therefore, my true introduction to an eatery is often through its facilities. This pre-meal ritual has made me aware of the places where attention to design extends far past the dining room and into the powder room. Here, some of New York’s most compelling destinations for a trip to the loo.
It should come as no surprise that this sleek temple to Japanese cuisine—helmed by an Iron Chef, no less— would have a well-appointed bathroom. Though located right near the frenetic Chelsea Market, the restaurant boasts a serene, tranquil aesthetic that combines warm light wood tables and chairs with impressive accents like the “bottle wall”—a collection of LED-lit mineral water bottles—all the better for enjoying sumptuous omakase and surf and turf. Japanese architect Tadao Ando also managed to give the restroom an unexpectedly exciting look, using mirrors to create an infinite Yayoi Kusama–esque vision of cherry blossoms above the self-cleaning porcelain thrones.
Chinatown’s Lalito is a study in unapologetic boldness. Chef Gerardo Gonzalez channels his Mexican and San Diegan roots through casual fare like corn nut-laced carnitas tacos, coconut grits, and a must-order vegan Caesar salad flavored with nutritional yeast and cashews. The vibe epitomizes downtown cool, but is comfortable and quiet enough for dinner conversation encouraged by their inspired cocktails (the En Nogada is my favorite). Being at Lalito feels like a party with your most fun friends, especially in the bathroom. One night, when prepping for an event, the team decided to jazz up the dark room with tropical faux plants. They were immediately reminded of Jennifer Lopez’s iconic “Waiting for Tonight” music video and, with the addition of flashy strobe lighting and the song playing on a loop, the so-called “J.Lo bathroom” was born. Gonzalez calls it “an installation dedicated to a very important piece of contemporary, pop history,” adding that “it’s just a simple way to both make people happy and to pay homage to a cultural hero.”
This Chelsea eatery serves takes on American classics (think chicken-fried buttermilk pork chop and an iceberg wedge) and cocktails in a brasserie-style aesthetic. The bathroom is an ode to old-school powder rooms, says owner Tamara McCarthy. “We based the bathroom on bathrooms of the 50s and 60s and wanted our guests to go back to memories they had of their childhood parents’ and grandparents’ bathroom.” The room features vintage pink flowered wallpaper, a pink rotary telephone, and a pink toilet, sink, and tiles which, McCarthy says, were very hard to find. She calls it a “pink bubble of 50s nostalgia,” and sees it as a never-ending project always ripe for reinvention. There are even watermelon-hued lawn chairs—slightly mystifying for a one-toilet room—but it makes a visit to the facilities all the more inviting.
Bold, bright plates and flavors are the order of the day at Cervo’s, a Portuguese restaurant on Canal Street. Customers and critics alike rave about their bracing white wines and sherries, and the seafood-heavy offerings like oysters, white prawns a la plancha, and cockles with vinho verde and garlic. The dining room aesthetic pairs tiles (white near the bar and red-and-white on the floors) with wooden wall stools, booths, and a metal bar counter. The tiling continues in the restroom, in hues of eggplant and light blue. “We had so much fun with the bathroom," says Cervo’s designer Russell Perkins. “The sink and toilet were some of the only fixtures we retained from the previous occupants—we loved their bright blue color, and chose all the other bathroom colors to play off them.” The tile pattern is based on an iconic Anni Albers fabric design, and the marbled toilet seat and cover add an even more vibrant, retro feel to this destination restroom.
From the same owners as Cookshop and nearby Rosie’s, Vic’s is a buzzy NoHo Italian eatery serving pizzas, pastas, and other carby delights. In the casual brick-walled space, guests can order antipasti—from garlic bread with goat butter to roasted clams—before sampling the classic Cacio e Pepe or crunching into the blistered crusts of a soppressata pizza. The dining room was designed by Peter Guzy, in a style owner Victoria Freeman calls “beautiful, tasteful and cool,” though she says, “it needed to be messed up a bit.” So, she went all out with the bathroom design. In the pantheon of Instagrammable restrooms, Vic’s ranks very highly; the women’s room, with its bright pink flamingo wallpaper, has inspired many a filtered picture. The walls of the men’s bathroom are equally bold (though perhaps less immortalized online), featuring a tomato red background decorated with cartoon zebras.
When a new restaurant opens in the location of a beloved predecessor, the pressure is always a bit heightened. Luckily, the new Casino Clam Bar in Williamsburg—located in the old Semilla spot—has lived up to the exalted space it took over. The owners have made their name in the neighborhood with meat-forward spots Fette Sau and St. Anselm, and have begun expanding their empire to include, as the name would suggest, more sea-faring fare. The menu includes an extensive wine list in addition to seafood dishes ranging from the classic—clam chowder, clam pizza, and oysters—to the more experimental (think tuna belly conserva and cod cheeks). Though the offerings are quite different from Semilla, they’ve kept one particularly quirky aspect the same: the one-way bathroom mirror. From the restroom, customers can see directly into the kitchen, watching as their hamachi collars and shrimp cocktail are prepped before they return to the dining room.
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/foodnews/the-best-new-york-restaurants-for-a-bathroom-selfie/ar-AAvSWCL